Having a ball in the Campiello Albrizzi
Maggie arrives at the Campiello Albrizzi

Schiphol Airport's 150-euro "pet tax"

Bearded Collie in snow

ABOVE: Maggie would rather risk a blizzard in Paris than pay 150 euros to change planes in Amsterdam.

Maggie is heading back to Venice later in the week, with a change of planes at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

When we fly without her, we normally take a transatlantic flight to Amsterdam, then catch a KLM Cityhopper flight from Schiphol Airport to Venice's Marco Polo Airport. This isn't practical when we're traveling with Maggie in the winter, because KLM doesn't carry pets on the AMS-VCE route from November to March. (The baggage compartments on its Fokker Cityhopper jets aren't warm enough for animals in winter.)

At first we were disappointed that we couldn't fly with Maggie through Amsterdam, but recently we discovered that we may be better off skipping Schiphol with a dog in tow:

At Schiphol Airport, KLM charges a mandatory "animal care" fee of 150 euros, 200 U.S. dollars, or 200 Canadian dollars for pets traveling as checked baggage that lay over at Schiphol for more than two hours. This fee (which other writers have described as a "pet tax") is more than twice the price of a four-hour stay at Schiphol's Yotel for human travelers.

Schiphol Airport has always been as much about commerce as about flying (it has so many shops that it often feels like a mall with airplanes), but charging 150 euros for a plane change that runs longer than two hours strikes us as being outrageous--no matter how nice Schiphol's animal facilities might be.


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